Published by Scholastic Inc. on January 7th 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, Action & Adventure, General
Buy on Amazon
A lush and gorgeously written debut, packed with action, intrigue, and heart-racing romance. Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king's army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince's guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can't prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory. The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she's sworn to protect?
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
So, I was really excited to read this one. I mean, it’s a fantasy, with a girl who’s been pretending to be a boy this whole time. Not to mention, she’s supposedly an awesome fighter, on the prince’s guard and basically sounds all sorts of awesome. It definitely made me think of Mulan – pretending to be a boy, in the army, you can see where I get that – and it really had all the markings of something amazing! However, I didn’t like it at all.
It starts off fine, Alexa — or “Alex” — is playing the part of great fighter and I was intrigued by her back story. I was ready for action, fantasy, magic, romance! Instead, the story was a little hard to get into. As things finally get rolling, I’m still holding out hope but no such luck. The entire middle of this book (like a good 40%) is centered on PURELY this love triangle between Prince Damian and fellow guard Rylan. Now, I am ALL FOR romance. I love it. I want to swoon over swoony men. But I want that amidst a plot, amidst action or something that’s going on in this fantasy world. Nope. Alexa literally waffles between the men and turns from badass fighter to something akin to a teenage girl plucking petals off a flower (he loves me?? he loves me not??) She obsesses over Rylan who she always kind of liked to Damian who she realizes is so much more underneath the arrogant princely facade than she ever knew. That’s all that happens! Should she choose Rylan, the soldier I initially liked but then realized he had no personality? Or Damian, who I never liked even after we see him as a nice person? I choose NO SHIP.
The love triangle was the main focus of the story and nothing really happened during this time. Almost half the book is devoted to this. I felt cheated out of the promised intrigue and action.
I also wasn’t a huge fan of the world building. Apparently there’s the castle and the walls and then jungle. Oh and there’s sorcerers which I thought could have been really interesting! I wish this could have been involved more in the story. I wanted more magic, action and fighting. I honestly felt like I just read a straight up romance instead. Except I didn’t enjoy the romance. I just got so sick of Alexa wondering who her heart beat faster for.
Defy had a lot of potential to be something great. The elements were there but got completely overtaken by a love triangle that I hated. It made me dislike all characters involved. There wasn’t much magic or action involved because we were too busy choosing between boys. However, I do know that there are people that enjoyed this one! So while I was not a fan, you may enjoy it more if you keep in mind you’re not getting as much fantasy as romance.